LITTLE ROCK — State Rep. Nate Steel of Nashville announced his candidacy for attorney general Wednesday, first outside the Howard County Courthouse in his hometown and later at the state Capitol.

"As the next attorney general … I won’t always do what’s popular but I guarantee I’ll always do what’s right," Steel said in Little Rock. "I’m running for attorney general because I believe in our state and our people – in what we can get done if state government works the way it is supposed to work."

He is the first Democrat to announce for the attorney general’s race to succeed term-limited incumbent Democrat Dustin McDaniel.

A former prosecutor who is serving his third and final term in the state House, Steel said described himself as a conservative Democrat who would "work across party lines."

While in the House, Steel served on the Judiciary Committee and said he worked to strengthen laws concerning methamphetamine use, improve the state’s probation and parole systems, and to improve criminal justice in the state and access to the courts.

"Those particular fights … prepared me for this new role and I’m very excited," he said.

Two Republicans, Leslie Rutledge and David Sterling, previously announced their intentions to run for attorney general in 2014.

Rutledge, of Little Rock, served as deputy counsel for Huckabee when he was Arkansas governor and as legal counsel for his 2008 presidential campaign. She has also served as legal counsel for the Republican National Committee.

Sterling is an attorney in North Little Rock.